Monday, February 11, 2008

Washougal River: III (IV)

On Friday, Jan. 11th, it rained. It rained a lot in the Columbia Gorge region. It rained enough for the Washougal river in southern Washington to get pretty high. What is normally a class II/III- residential run had turned into a fast big-water section. Even with the extra water, the run was mostly class II with a couple III's and one class four: Big eddy. The one rapid was fun with big waves and holes scattered across the river for a few hundred yards. Other than that, the most difficult part was the put-in.
Ryan convinced us to launch on the NF of the Washougal, which would add an extra mile of river and some excellent play waves. The access here is decent for kayaks, but challenging for rafts. We ended up belaying the boat down a hillside until it got stuck. From there we played around with throw ropes off the bridge for a while until we could finally board the raft.

Once we launched, the river was very fast. In the first mile we encountered several outstanding surf waves. Unfortunately, I was in my creekboat and couldn't take full advantage of the playboating all down this run. I was able to surf my Huka on some of the longer, faster waves however where displacement hull got up on plane.

Ryan enjoying one of the smaller features.

Further downstream, there were many more small surf waves with great eddy service, such as the one pictured above. I had trouble staying on the waves with my sluggish boat, but Will and Danielle in the raft did just fine.
We made our way to the take-out without incident, other than me flailing through some of the big water in a boat designed for steep creeks. Damn, I shoulda brought a playboat! As per usual, beer and kettle chips awaited us at the take-out and we gladly indulged.

I would consider this run fairly comparable to Lake Creek into the Siuslaw River, only without the world-class playspots. It's best when it's high, the rapids are all pretty easy with one big class IV, the river is littered with surfing waves, but consequences are fairly high. With the wide, fast river, a swim could easily mean a lost boat. This is not a run for kayakers with unpredictable rolls. Be careful out there and have fun!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bavarian Night!

You all voted on where Dan would sleep on Bavarian. The majority of you voted on Dan sleeping in Jail, but he out foxed you again. Dan did sleep in a tent, with two other, not so stranger, people from the Mt. A ski school. Zana brought so many blankets she could have survived a night on Everest, and Colin well Colin made it into the tent mostly. Colin decided it would be best for him to sleep half-way in the tent and with his goggles on. Good decision Colin.

The two main highlights of Bavarian night are the Torch Light Parade (drunk skiers and riders are entrusted with roadside flares that have ski-poles attached to them) and the fireworks that proceed it. Mount A Ski School Director Robert directed the parade this year, and while it was not as organized as it has been in the past it still wound its way majestically down the mountain. The fireworks went off in a big bang. The fireworks almost didn't happen this year due to the high wends experienced earlier in the day.

After the "official" festivities were over the majority of the participants still hanging out went to the back side of the mountain where a bomfire lite up the nights ski. The party went deep into the night and the hangovers went through the next day.

Well see you again next year Bavarian night!